Ashley Roland is a true American original. With an unparalleled imagination and an acuity in both choreography and theatrical effect, she creates work that is unbridled, ebullient, and unabashed, resonating deeply with audiences around the world. A native New Yorker, Ashley began her dance training at age 3. A remarkably talented athlete, she graduated from high school with 8 varsity letters, and was the captain of the swimming and track teams. She was Connecticut state high school champion in indoor hurdles, gymnastics beam and floor, and diving, and won a national scholar athlete award as a senior.
In New York, Ashley studied with legendary ballet teacher David Howard and at the Alvin Ailey studios. She attended North Carolina School of the Arts, leaving in her sophomore year to begin her professional career. In that year, she helped form MOMIX, setting off on a string of international tours that took her to Paris, London, Tokyo, Rome, New York, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, and virtually every major city in the world. In 1987, she formed ISO (I'm So Optimistic) with her partner Jamey Hampton, as well as Daniel Ezralow and Morleigh Steinberg. ISO toured the world for seven years with an equally robust schedule, as well as choreographing several international fashion shows for Issey Miyake, and making videos for music artists including U2, Sting, Simply Red, Pat Metheny, and choreographing the Glass Spider Tour for David Bowie.
Ashley co-founded BodyVox in 1997 with Jamey Hampton. Now in its 18th season, BodyVox reflects everything that Ashley is: Endlessly creative, truly unique, and deeply American. BodyVox works in dance, opera, theater, film and print media. Since the creation of BodyVox Ashley and Jamey have made over one hundred fifty works including three full-length opera productions. They have toured their work throughout the U.S. and Europe while becoming a beloved favorite to their home audience in Portland, Oregon. As noted Portland art blogger Byron Beck says, “Ashley Roland is one of the most important women working in dance today.”
Ashley is the recipient of numerous awards, including an Emmy for her work on ISO's "Episodes", and an American Choreography Award for her work on the BodyVox/Mitchell Rose film series "Modern Daydreams." As a solo performer Ashley has danced her work in galas throughout Europe, Canada and the United States. She has created and performed in benefits for Amnesty International, Fashion Aid, Friends In Deed, Canadian Aids Relief, Cascade Aids Benefit and the Connecticut Tibetan Resettlement Project. Ashley has choreographed and licensed pieces to companies around the world. In 1993 she choreographed the full-length ballet, "Sheherezade" for the Georgian State Ballet in Tiblisi, Republic of Georgia. Other companies performing her work include Introdans (Denmark), Batsheva (Tel Aviv, Israel), Trinity Irish Dance (Chicago), River North (Chicago), and Oregon Ballet Theater (Portland).
Ashley has collaborated with the preeminent dance photographer of our time, Lois Greenfield, on literally thousands of images. These photographs have been featured in print ads around the world, as well as in Greenfield’s Breaking Bounds and Airborne book series, in Greenfield’s annual calendars, and on the cover of the Anne Rice novel “Lasher”.
Ashley makes her home in Portland, Oregon with her husband, partner and co-director Jamey Hampton, and their two sons, Bowen and Julian.